Weight Loss Support - UGH! Restaurants...and we wonder why we're obese




ncuneo
06-08-2010, 12:13 PM
Last night we had a blackout so we had to go out for dinner and we went to Applebee's. So I had fully planned to order off their 550 and under menu and had a little over 600 cals availble for dinner. I took one look at the options and everything just looked tastless and awful. So I thought, well I'd rather just eat less of something that tastes better. I know I'd be getting more fat, sodium, etc. that way but I refuse to eat a bad meal anymore. So I went with a HALF portion of one of their regular salads. While we were waiting for our order I noticed the nurtional info hidden in the drink menu and looked up what I had order - 990 cals in a HALF salad!!!!! I'm mean give me a break! So luckily I saw that before my dinner came and I ate just over half my salad, but restaurant food still just blows me away. There wasn't hardly anything on that menu under 1000 cals...I commend the restaurants for trying to put better options on their menu and providing nutritional info, but I really think they could do better.


AnnieDrews
06-08-2010, 12:18 PM
I don't know why restaurants completely ignore calories/sodium/fat when creating recipes. Good food can be made without outrageous amounts of the added things that are in alot of recipes. I wonder if the unhealthy ingredients are really a whole lot cheaper (I don't think that this is true....except maybe for fresh vegetables), it would be interesting to follow a recipe/food idea being introduced for a restaurant menu.

guamvixen
06-08-2010, 12:27 PM
I always ask restaurants to put my dressing on the side and I eliminate the croutons. So basically I just eat rabbit food that consists of the romaine lettuce and chicken. It's hard to adjust, but one things for sure, you get an equal amount of dressing on each bite! AND...if you have left over dressing after your done, then VOILA! The extra calories in the dressing and croutons and cheese add up quick. I dip my fork half way into the dressing and then I get into my salad. That way you control how much dressing you are consuming. I'm kind of glad now that I can't eat cheese, because as good as it is, it's not worth the pain and guilt it gives me. Plus it makes me "sick"

What really makes me upset, is how come some restaurants won't let an adult order off the kid's menu? The portions are smaller, and a lot of the time the kid's menu is cooked differently and have more natural ingredients. This is why america is obese! Greedy Jerks!


Onederchic
06-08-2010, 12:35 PM
Yeah, it is horrible. Thankfully, I rarely get anything other than my own cooking at home to eat..which is bad enough (not health-wise though :lol:) :D :hug:

mkendrick
06-08-2010, 12:44 PM
For the record, I love Applebees under-550 grilled shrimp skewers. I think if you order the veggies unseasoned (I don't like the "seasoning" anyways, it's just salt slime), it's under 300cal...I looked it up once, forgot the exact number. But it's quite a substantial amount of very tasty food. 3 skewers of shrimp, yummy rice, and the veggies are good plain.

But I definitely agree, restaurants are out of control with portion sizes and excessive fat/sodium/calories. The triple cheese, bacon, crispy, creamy, meals can be on the menu, but why must they be the norm? Why are the reasonable healthy options the exception?

I'm only 22, so I don't have much to compare it to, but I'd love to go to a restaurant back in the 50's or 60's and compare similar meals. Just to see the difference in portion sizes and such.

aliquot
06-08-2010, 01:12 PM
Agreed with mkendrick, I like a lot of those under 550 meals. The pasta one is spicy and filling, the chicken is good, the steak is tasty, and the shrimp skewers also have a pretty good kick. They are also a decent amount of food.

Have you ever been to Chili's? OMG. Just LOOKING at their menu gives me a heart attack, lol. They just came out with a DOUBLE burger and their regular burgers are darn well near 2000 cals already! They don't have the nutrition info up yet but ew! (Also I actually really like their "Guiltless grill" Caribbean salad, 450 cals, although the dressing is pretty fattyyyy)

Karen925
06-08-2010, 01:14 PM
I like the Applebee's Asiago Peppersteak. Very tender and tasty. Sodium is high so I drink plenty of water.

Yes, restaurants are a challenge which is why I have a thread asking for tips. Summer is a traditional time for travel and these issues come up more frequently.

Petite Powerhouse
06-08-2010, 01:24 PM
I like Applebee's lower-calorie menu. There's quite a lot on there that tastes good. In fact, I think they have one of the better such menus.

beerab
06-08-2010, 01:38 PM
I agree- I almost always modify my meals now- my husband always says "is that enough food for you?"

And I'm like yes it is babe DON'T worry.

Last time I went to Denny's I got the "endless soup and salad" and I got 1 bowl of soup and one salad minus the croutons. I ate it all and when the server was like do you want more I was like "no I'm good" and she looked at me like no one has ever done that before! lol.

saef
06-08-2010, 01:47 PM
My simple rule: No chain restaurants. If I absolutely had to, Red Lobster. Maybe. But why bother, when I could go to someone else's privately owned seafood restaurant?

No restaurants with big balloony-looking lettering on their names or "family-style" written below that.

Eating the pile of lettuce with the grilled chicken breast on top is not fun. It's just not. So what good is a meal out if that's all I can order? I could get that at a big grocery store prepared foods section.

Just not worth it.

Rebound
06-08-2010, 01:50 PM
The 550- and under meals are awesome. I mean, really REALLY good.

I love going to Applebees!

Glory87
06-08-2010, 03:35 PM
I actually like chain restaurants when they have their nutritional info posted online so I can make an informed decision. I love P.F. Chang's and the apricot chicken at Olive Garden. Macaroni Grill has some great lamb skewers right now that are super tasty.

Sure, if I'm not trying to lose weight and I am eating a treat meal, I would prefer a hole in the wall, mom and pop restaurant. Sometimes, estimating calories is okay. Sometimes, I want the extra accountability of a posted nutritional menu!

MeganTheMushroom
06-08-2010, 03:46 PM
It's just nasty, my sister told me that apple bees was really bad...
then we wount up going to a hibachi restaraunt where i was forced to watch some fat ol' man throw over 500 calories worth of butter and 400 calories worth of oil into vegetables...ugh

It's so nasty!

astrophe
06-08-2010, 03:57 PM
I don't eat there, but I had a similar experience looking up Houlihan nutrition. Most of it was over 1000! I eventually settled on the simply prepared salmon but yeah... it is so wrong. :P

A.

mthrgoos68
06-08-2010, 05:56 PM
That's funny, my sister and I were just, 5 minutes ago, talking about how that Applebees menu makes it easier for us to go out to eat.

The portions on regular menus are out of control, but I do like the fact that so many of the menus are available on line with nutritional information. Just last night, my sister found herself unexpectedly going to Red Robin for dinner, so I pulled up the menu and texted what she should order and how menu calories it would be. It definitely makes it easier to stay on plan.

Karen925
06-08-2010, 06:38 PM
I actually like chain restaurants when they have their nutritional info posted online so I can make an informed decision.

True, true. I will be in 14 cities/ towns/ villages this summer on one trip. I have no idea where the mom/pop locations are. Sure I can Google and do travel searches but a day of driving who wants to hassle with some of that. Then their hours of operation varies. I remember this one such restaurant famed for its steaks being closed when we drove up. Had to have a plan B and my app with nutritional info of chain restaurants came through.

This is one reason I like McDonalds. I can plan on the CC in the Southwestern salad.

It depends on the individual.

mkendrick
06-08-2010, 06:41 PM
Also, keep in mind that you CAN make special orders. It took me awhile to get used to it, but now I'm perfectly comfortable making requests such as "please steam my vegetables - no oil, butter, or salt" and "can I have this grilled instead?" and "please leave out any added salt." Or you can sometimes swap sides for healthier options.

JayLei
06-08-2010, 08:29 PM
What really makes me upset, is how come some restaurants won't let an adult order off the kid's menu? The portions are smaller, and a lot of the time the kid's menu is cooked differently and have more natural ingredients. This is why america is obese! Greedy Jerks!

My mom always used to ask if she could have the senior portion and pay the regular price. Some restaurants would do it, some wouldn't

ennay
06-08-2010, 08:38 PM
I'm like Glory. Maybe for a really special occasion I like a "real restaurant" but for the ordinary run of the mill "I dont feel like cooking" or "hey we got a sitter!" I much prefer PF Changs or someplace I can at least CHECK.


And I confess to Red Lobster being one of my favorite places because most of the non-chain seafood places around here dont have decent crab or lobster. It's all fish. Or dungeness, which is good, but either takes forever to crack and eat, or usually it's mixed with all kinds of stuff I dont want to eat. Give me steamed crab legs any day of the week.

RienQueNny
06-08-2010, 08:44 PM
When I went on vacation to Huntington Beach last April, I found myself having to go into iHop for dinner as my friends and I were starving and I was with a bunch of picky eaters.
And I swear there was 2-3 items on the entire menu that was under 1,000 calories. I mean I know it's iHop but I just couldn't believe it, the caesar salad I ordered (I ate half of it) had something like 950 calories in it. Indeed, no wonder we're obese!!

MissNibs
06-08-2010, 08:50 PM
Well, I don't know how many calories it had, but today I ordered a 'plain' whopper junior at BK. That was a bun, the beef patty, a slice of cheese.

Period. No lettuce, tomatoe, mayo or onion. It tasted good and a lot less calories.

That was the first time I ever asked for them to omit all those items.
It was my whole noon meal.


MissNibs.

Rebound
06-08-2010, 09:14 PM
Well, I don't know how many calories it had, but today I ordered a 'plain' whopper junior at BK. That was a bun, the beef patty, a slice of cheese.

Period. No lettuce, tomatoe, mayo or onion. It tasted good and a lot less calories.

That was the first time I ever asked for them to omit all those items.
It was my whole noon meal.


MissNibs.

It's the mayo (and the cheese) that gets you. I think the lettuce, onion, and tomato are probably safe ;)

Karen925
06-08-2010, 09:23 PM
And I confess to Red Lobster being one of my favorite places because most of the non-chain seafood places around here dont have decent crab or lobster. Give me steamed crab legs any day of the week.

Is this what you like at RL, steamed crab legs? What sides? My Mom likes it too and if I could find something reasonable I would happily go.

AnnieDrews
06-08-2010, 09:41 PM
Well, I don't know how many calories it had, but today I ordered a 'plain' whopper junior at BK. That was a bun, the beef patty, a slice of cheese.

Period. No lettuce, tomatoe, mayo or onion. It tasted good and a lot less calories.

That was the first time I ever asked for them to omit all those items.
It was my whole noon meal.


MissNibs.

Although it is high in fat, ordering one of these isn't too bad. With cheese, etc. it is 370 calories. This is usually what I choose if I HAVE to have BK.

Here is a link to The Daily Plate info on it. Burger King's is a little confusing.

http://www.thedailyplate.com/nutrition-calories/food/burger-king/whopper-jr.

On the seafood front, we went to Joe's Crab Shack the other night. I ordered the 12 peel-and-eat shrimp appetizer and a green salad. Though they didn't have any low fat or fat free dressing.:mad: I told the manager they needed to offer something low/no fat. I felt pretty good with this meal, though I didn't know the actual calorie count.

ennay
06-08-2010, 10:27 PM
Is this what you like at RL, steamed crab legs? What sides? My Mom likes it too and if I could find something reasonable I would happily go.

I get steamed crab legs or sometimes one of the steamed lobster tails. Not stuffed. There are hardly any calories in either if you omit the butter. Usually my dinner is low enough that I let myself use a little of the butter. I'll get peel and eat shrimp if they have it but they havent lately.

I get the vegetable side (which I rarely eat) and the house salad dressing on the side (but add the baby shrimp)

Stay away from the biscuits they bring.

On a special occasion I get the ultimate feast which is like 700 calories, but I can budget for that and get a taste of some other treats like scampi. And then I usually skip the sides, because the meal is huge. And my kids eat half my scampi anyway. (OK here is my growl, the only shrimp available on the kids menu is fried)

saef
06-08-2010, 10:54 PM
I'm guessing that I'm probably an anomaly because I live in NY & people don't go to chain restaurants as much here.

The big chain restaurants that you all mention in your posts are pretty much clustered around the tourist districts, in the Times Square area in particular & around midtown near the shopping & the train stations. So, it's not uncommon for people I know not to go there.

Here, if you're thinking really informal & easy, you tend to go to whatever little bistro/cafe/trattoria/whatever is in your neighborhood. Or maybe order in Chinese. Or fill up a container at one of the little Korean-owned markets which have big salad bars on steam stables & bring it home.

For me to get to a chain restaurant, it's a planned excursion & a pain in the butt. Easier to go to a neighborhood place. The default setting is Italian. Everywhere.

Rebound
06-08-2010, 11:06 PM
Here, if you're thinking really informal & easy, you tend to go to whatever little bistro/cafe/trattoria/whatever is in your neighborhood. Or maybe order in Chinese. Or fill up a container at one of the little Korean-owned markets which have big salad bars on steam stables & bring it home.

Hey, New Yorker! Other places don't have these things! :dizzy: Remember? You live in the cultural center of the USA.

I live in the Midwest.

I would give my left arm for a bistro or a Korean market!

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Serbrider
06-08-2010, 11:42 PM
I'm actually annoyed at the restaurants who have no nutritional info AT ALL.

I've been eating out a lot lately... not on purpose... but because my family has been traveling. I've asked at multiple places "would I be able to see the nutritional info on your food", and been told by the MANAGERS "I'm sorry... we don't have that". And then I go and find it online later and it's like... 900 calories for a small burger. >.<

It annoys me mainly because I'm the kind of person who likes bland food. I have no idea why I'm like that... but bland food is the food that tastes good to me. I'll eat the rest... but that's when I wolf it down really fast because I'm trying to avoid the taste in my mouth. And when vegetables that would normally taste bland and wonderful to me are covered in grease and butter, salt, and all of these flavors... it's... well... nasty. ;)

I also find it crazy how much so many people EAT. My family... despite the fact that they've always loved food and would eat what we consider "a lot", we get asked by both family and friends whether or not we eat enough. We eat one helping... MAYBE two depending on what it is... while they reach for their fifth or sixth. O_o

Umm... yeah.

Maybe it's the fact that we lived in Europe... and portion sizes there (at least in Eastern Europe) are smaller. A "large" drink is the size of the SMALLS here in the USA. It's CRAZY. OH... and no refills in Eastern Europe. At most places... so we'll get a drink... and for the first three months.. we'd finish it... and be satisfied... and then someone would ask if we want more... and I have to admit... they scared me quite a few times when they asked... :p I was not expecting that.


I'm not saying I don't eat a lot... I do. But... I still don't eat anywhere near the amount that most Americans do. *shakes head*

firefliesandpixies
06-09-2010, 09:08 AM
My simple rule: No chain restaurants. If I absolutely had to, Red Lobster. Maybe. But why bother, when I could go to someone else's privately owned seafood restaurant?

No restaurants with big balloony-looking lettering on their names or "family-style" written below that.

Eating the pile of lettuce with the grilled chicken breast on top is not fun. It's just not. So what good is a meal out if that's all I can order? I could get that at a big grocery store prepared foods section.

Just not worth it.

Agree 10000%.

Danielle2842
06-09-2010, 10:10 AM
I CAN'T WAIT until that law kicks in where all restaurants with over 19 locations MUST post their nutritional data BY LAW. How exciting! It will make my life SO much easier, not having to search the internet for nutritional data before we go out to eat. 

I completely agree with the rest of you -- restaurant portions and calorie/fat counts are waaay out of control. It truly is like they're trying to make us fat!

However, I must disagree with the negative comments about chain restaurants and Applebee's, in particular. I LOVE the grilled chicken portabella dish on the "under 550" menu. It's filled and absolutely delicious! The shrimp skewers are also awesome!

We go out to eat about once a week and I always do my research to figure out the best, lowest calorie option. We frequent all those dreadful chains (and love it)! Chili's, Applebee's, Chipotle, Ruby Tuesday, Panera, etc., and I'm always able to find a meal under 500 calories, and I've never once been unhappy with the taste or amount of food. I'm always full and happy! No doubt, there are a billion other calorie laden, sodium soaked options just floating in fat, but luckily, I've been able to resist those options. :-)